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Borland CEO promises 'caring' IDE overlord

Won't go Lex Luthor on ya'll

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Borland's chief executive has stressed his company's commitment to developers, by promising to pass the soon-to-be divested tools business to a "caring" investor.

Tod Nielsen told EclipseCon attendees that Borland is screening companies who will invest in and drive the IDE business forward, rather than looking for a "Lex Luthor" who will destroy products like Delphi and JBuilder. Borland is working with Wall St institution Bear Stearns to find an investor for the integrated development environment portion of its business, which - in one of his first major acts as new CEO - Nielsen said last month would be spun out after 20 years.

As part of the spin out, and in a potential foreshadowing of future business plans, Borland has appointed Nigel Brown as general manager of its IDE products.

Brown is currently vice president of Borland's Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) operations and will take charge of engineering, marketing, services and sales. The move indicates a potential focus on non-US markets for the spin out, in places such as Europe where the company's Delphi business is strong.

Nielsen told the annual EclipseCon show in Santa Clara: "Its my commitment to find an investor who will invest in the business and drive it forward. I'm not looking for someone who is a Lex Luthor or the Evil Empire who will destroy the business. That's going to reflect badly on Borland."

It is in Borland's own best interests to ensure tools like JBuilder and Delphi continue to thrive. Borland really could use a healthy IDE component to complement its overarching application lifecycle management strategy.

A key component of ALM strategies in recent years has been the ability to deliver integrated team tools and collaboration from the design and development phase through to testing and management. The spinout means Borland is dumping development.

Nielsen made it clear Borland could not afford an IDE and an AML business, hence the costs and strategy associated with IDEs is shifting out of house. "We were [resource] constrained. We decided it would make sense to separate the businesses and... let the ALM business focus on overall lifecycle management," Nielsen said.

Nielsen told The Register following his keynote that Borland is likely to have a financial stake in the new tools company. "We will have a tight relationship with them," he said.

The nightmare scenario for Borland is the tools spin-out goes the way of BEA Systems' spin-out WebGain. Nielson promised things would be different by continuing investment in tools. "[WebGain] didn't continue to invest in the product. They opened the door to Borland."

As for Borland's remaining ALM business, Nielsen promised that - after a late start - Borland will use more open source software as the infrastructure of products."

"We were late to the game," he said, promising Borland is now a "serious player" in open source. "Going forward Borland will use the open source community as the system software provider of choice." Borland already uses the Apache web server in its Tempo IT compliance and governance software while Borland's IDEs contained 45 open source projects. "Look at change management. If people have Subversion, we will say 'let's use subversion'," Nielson said. ®

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